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In Memoriam 2015

January 1: Donna Douglas: Played daughter Elly May Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies. (Age 82). 1: Mario Cuomo: Governor of New York (1983 to 1994) (Age 82). 2: James Cecil Dickens: Known as Little Jimmy Dickens, best known for his song May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up ...

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The disappearance of misc.activism.progressive and the emergence of Thought Crime Radio

Almost four years ago, the articles in the USENET newsgroup misc.activism.progressive ground to a halt, and moderator Rich Winkel has all but disappeared from the USENET, whom I learn resided in Harrisburg (up until 2010, at least), a half hour or so drive from his ...

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Sounding off on the end of CanCon and the CRTC

I guess with the recent decision to axe all cancon requirements for daytime programming in Canada, the CRTC is crawling toward its own irrelevance. Let's not be naive, Canadian culture is that much more weakened without the protection it partially enjoyed from American influence. With ...

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Eldred, Saskatchewan on the map … barely

Eldred, Saskatchewan on the map ... barely

I've written about obscure Saskatchewan communities before. Here is another community far to the north of Unity. My ancestors from France settled here. Many of my ancestors were pioneers that broke new farming ground nearest to a community called Eldred, Saskatchewan. Eldred was about 10 km ...

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Zero

Once upon a time, around the year 525 during the reign of Pope John I, a monk named Dionysius invented the idea of Anno Domini by producing a calendar which marked the time since the birth of Christ. The numbering of the years was adopted ...

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Fortune Cookies for Human Rights

Fortune Cookies for Human Rights

You know, I was minding my own business in this classy Chinese restaurant, engorging myself on their copious buffet, had my fill, and was handed the bill with an accompanying fortune cookie. This fortune cookie (the one to the left) really existed, and I never saw ...

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Getting f(x) notation to work in Maple

Getting f(x) notation to work in Maple

Maple is a robust math environment which can graph, solve equations, and solve for the unknown with the aid of its computer algebra solver (CAS), which is capable of computing exact roots of cubic functions, for example. I wanted to demonstrate for myself that Maple could ...

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Kudos to the 1050 CHUM Memorial Blog

Kudos to the 1050 CHUM Memorial Blog

Recently, I've been hit (my website that is) by someone possibly checking his plethora of links from his/her website, and when I back-traced it, I find this cool blog which acts as a convincing historical shrine to the late great 1050 CHUM Radio in Toronto. ...

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The Obfuscation of Electronics: The Behringer Xenyx 502

The Obfuscation of Electronics: The Behringer Xenyx 502

This is more like a meta-review. I have gone to Canada Computes where nearly the entire Behringer line is sold, and was impressed by the specs. But does it do what I want, the way I want it? I face a number of obstacles, being a ...

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August in a Hamilton Airport Lounge

After I was compelled to go all the way to Hamilton to catch a plane to Edmonton to visit my parents, I had an earworm in my head – a song that wouldn’t leave my head: Bruce Cockburn’s January in a Halifax Airport Lounge, which appeared many decades ago. It had its imagery: the jets flying overhead, the Cyprus-bound RAF detail waiting to board, and the cocoon-like feeling of being stuck in a small airport in the middle of a snowstorm.

Hamilton is slowly being built up, and I am sure as it expands its tax base, it will try to beautify its old buildings downtown, including City Hall. The airport is still much-neglected, small as it is, and too close to Pearson Airport (I consider 70km too close, since Pearson is so massive) to be viable to any but locals.

And it was true. I felt like I was one of few people from out of town in this airport. The only “store” that exists here is a Tim Horton’s. No souvenir shops, and barely 100 meters exist between the baggage checks and the boarding gate (there is only one, leading to a general area). In the lounge area in front of both the gate and Tim Horton’s, families kept their kids occupied, one lady was doing her knitting, some people were on their devices, everyone seemed generally relaxed. It is in contrast to Pearson’s bustle, tension, and people’s crises over lost luggage, or possibly worse matters.

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Political Correctness

Today, I am going to possibly offend both sides of a sensitive discussion about political correctness, and that’s because my opinion here is neither on the “left” nor “right”. I think that means I will piss just about everyone off with this article. If discussions on political correctness make you angry, then feel free to skip this article.

To me, PC has a good and a bad side. We like to put an end to prejudice and stereotypes, and doing so, means to address people with labels that show respect. It would seem a good thing, and would have a civilizing effect on how we treat each other in discourse. In fact, is it wrong to give added opportunity to marginalized groups? Once again, giving eveyone equal opportunity can’t be wrong.

The problem is, as I have always maintained, when any “good idea” becomes a totality (as in totalitarianism), the idea is ruined, no matter how good it is. So, some dude with a high-level degree, who spent way too long researching marginalized groups, was given a job where he or she gets a little power to decide who gets to participate in programming at, say the British Broadcasting Corporation, decides to place racially-mixed people into his/her comedy programming, and cancels programming from the former members of Monty Python. That’s right, if you click on that link, former Python member Terry Gilliam is now telling the world he is a “black lesbian in transition” in order to get back into the BBC’s good graces.

You may have your own take on this discussion. Maybe Gilliam is an aging crank who should come off it and go retire some place. It is as if, the zeal of showing a lack of discrimination has created a new form of discrimination. Can anyone dispute that Monty Python has a place, then and now, in the annals of British comedy? The effort to be non-prejudicial has created another kind of prejudice. And this is the bad side of being too PC. It’s all well and good so long as you have contributed to a civil and egalitarian society. It fails when your actions and words amount to a new kind of hostility, a new kind of discrimination. Then, society is less civil, and the worse for it. In fact, the PC movement will, in the effort to be egalitarian, completely fail to meet its own object, at a time of increased racism, tribalism and prejudice. It is a sad crisis of their own making.

We need political correctness more than ever. But we need the civilizing kind. PC people will always offend racists. Racists will always be offended, and I am not concerned for them. PC’s have the power to put an end to tribalism, but are actually making it worse, by trying to define new marginalized groups at every turn. There is now such a complex maze of marginalized groups that it is hard to keep track, making it nearly impossible to have a casual conversation about people without fearing that you have offended this-or-that group by referring to them with the wrong name.

I don’t need a scorecard for certiain folks. African-American people probably shouldn’t be labelled with the N-word, since that has a very obvious history. Calling aboriginal peole “Indian” is wrong (people from India already have that label). In Canada, we call them “indigenous”,  as a catch-all to refer to Metis, Inuit and First Nations peoples. But this is after several changes. In fact, I just found out I may have offended someone by using the word “aboriginal” earlier in this paragraph, and had to look up “indigenous”. It is thus a bit discomforting to write such articles as these, since any reference to racialized and marginalized groups in a blog will require a mini-research project, which I am OK with, but I think that an open-minded discussion on these topics requires that we not be too casual in using what we know to discuss things about people we don’t know. We live in a big world, and it wouldn’t hurt us to challenge our own stereotypes.

There are groups calling themselves trans-gendered; and I have some rather touchy questions: why do we need to refer to the rest of us as “cis-gendered”? Will anyone listen to me if I say I am offended by that label? Where are the PC police now? I am sure most of us did not agree to that label, not that I can say I am terribly offended. It just sounds like the “cis” labelling is a rhetorical device to make trans people feel better. I am not denying I am “cis”, I just don’t see  the point in using that label at all. And to trans people, please feel free to strip yourselves of labels also.

“Trans people” are, I am sure not a unified group. Each consists of a collection of individuals with their own lives, concerns, interests, hangups, like most of us. I think the ultimate goal of the PC police should be, not to refer to “trans people” or “indigenous people” as a group, but to rid ourselves of all labels one day for all groups. Because to label is to stereotype, and we ultimately should be concerned with the lives of individuals rather than of people we envision as belonging to “groups”. To label people is to tribalize and separate. To not label is to re-engineer a society based on individual concerns and needs, in a way that is doomed to be non-judgemental. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part XIV

Tweet This is the last entry. I would like this to go on forever, but all things must end. Trump just can’t be bothered with laws He scoffs the Emoluments Clause Though most folks suspect him The brain dead protect him At most we’ve got probable cause Kim Jong Un and Trump should be friends Upon them our […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part XIII

Tweet The closer we get to the facts The more freakin’ guilty Trump acts He thinks we’re all dumb And under his thumb I hope that I’m there when he cracks Trump tries to pretend he’s not nuts His clan plays along for tax cuts And Putin’s web trolls Still act like assholes From far off (cuz […] […]

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Young Trump staffers and their dating troubles

Tweet I think we can agree that Business Insider is not exactly a Leftist online publication. The news item has been echoed on MSNBC, GQ, The Cut, Vice – and possibly many other media (Politico apparently broke the story), and it lays bare a rather painful on-the-job hazard of a Trump Employee or supporter working in […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part XII

Tweet Trump’s doc says he’s fit as a fiddle But I think he’s fudging a little No doc talks like that Plus Trump’s crazy fat Too fat for a framework that brittle All of the president’s men Run out of mean tricks now and then Trump chides them, “You jerks, Just go with what works: Investigate Clinton […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part XI

Tweet Republican voters must wonder What sort of a spell are they under? Fox News says Trump’s cool But he’s Putin’s tool Should we have to pay for their blunder? We can’t keep on going this way Our plight seems more desperate each day I think we all know That Trump’s got to go There’s just no […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part XI

Tweet Stress made Devin Nunes get sick Trump told him, “This should do the trick” “Hey wait,” Devin cried “That’s pure cyanide!” “Don’t worry,” Trump said, “It works quick.” “Those bastards have me in a fix,” Trump whined, “Democrats are all dicks I’m useless, they say ‘Cause I sleep all day Please move your hand faster, Ms […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part X

Tweet Stress made Devin Nunes get sick Trump told him, “This should do the trick” “Hey wait,” Devin cried “That’s pure cyanide!” “Don’t worry,” Trump said, “It works quick.” “Those bastards have me in a fix,” Trump whined, “Democrats are all dicks I’m useless, they say ‘Cause I sleep all day Please move your hand faster, Ms […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part IX

Tweet There once was a VP named Pence Whose passion for God was intense He called his wife “Mother” Had eyes for no other And lacked but one thing: common sense A filthy rich fat guy named Trump Saw his pageant beginning to slump His beauty queen cried Trump took it in stride And canned her when […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part VIII

Tweet Our president promised a wall The neighbors would pay for it all But when it came time To show us the dime All Trump could do was just stall A well-to-do nitwit named Trump Was a liar, a thief and a chump He said “Yes I’m rich, The son of a bitch, My real name’s actually […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part VII

Tweet While driving his daughter to school Trump farted and felt like a fool Ivanka said “Dad, It really is bad I’ll just walk from here if that’s cool” What’s up with Sean Hannity’s hair? Did he mean to put his part there? The way that it’s cut It looks like a butt I bet little kids […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part VI

Tweet Trump met a young girl named Melania They went out to dine on lasagna He plied her with liquor And told her, “Eat quicker, By seven I plan to be on ya” One evening while roaming the White House Trump wondered if he had the right house Melania said “Hey, If I had my way We’d […] […]

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Oh yeah, and by the way: JFK Documents released

Tweet Back on 26 April, what I understand should have been the last of the JFK documents released to the general public and made available for download. Apparently, the deadline to release the last of them has been now moved to 2021. With all the distractions surrounding Donald Trump, including those distractions Trump made for himself, you […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part V

Tweet Now that the memo’s released And all of the screaming has ceased Those four little pages That seemed so outrageous Have gone from “the worst” to “the least.” Melania hated her life She didn’t like being Trump’s wife To deal with the man She thought up a plan Involving scotch, roofies and a knife While styling his […] […]

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My thoughts on the Logitech K380 Keyboard

Tweet I am writing this blog on the K380, first made by Logitech in 2015 or so. C-Net did a review, basing their experience the way I am — writing this article using it. Starting with the most visible features, it is predictably a small keyboard. You could feel cramped if you have large hands, but then […] […]

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In memoriam: World’s oldest living person, dead at 117

Tweet There is always “the oldest living person” somewhere. Sooner or later, they will pass on, and it is someone else’s turn to be the oldest. But the demise of Nabi Tajima of Japan would not be worthy of further comment, except that it appears as though she was the last person known to have been […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part IV

Tweet Not clapping for Trump is now treason A big deal to him for some reason He’s so full of crap Why bother to clap? With luck he’ll be gone by next season Republicans say we’re unfair For laughing at Donald Trump’s hair That orange cotton candy He thinks looks so dandy Came straight from the New York […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part III

Tweet Of Putin no ill has Trump spoken Such words anyway would be token As Trump’s critics know His bluster’s for show Vlad’s end would leave Donald heartbroken What sort of man needs a parade? Is this moron in the fourth grade? His hour of fun Will cost US a ton It won’t be his money that’s […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part II

Tweet Without any apprehension Trump screwed McCabe out of his pension He never gets tired Of saying “you’re fired” Or increasing national tension Said Donald, “I just had to try it” So Stormy got paid to be quiet Republicans blamed her Evangelists shamed her Trump did what he does — he denied it Controlling guns seems a lost […] […]

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